What to bring on a fishing boat?

It has been a long time since my last post! Here is one to get started again:

This Spring a Seattle Chef asked me what to bring North to Alaska for her three day guest visit on a commercial fishing boat that was going for herring out of Sitka. Not grammatically correct or in any order, here is a list of things I bring if I am going out on a fishing boat that is not my own.

For you: Layers of clothing, warm hat, gloves, base ball cap, sunglasses, strap to keep glasses on head not over board, sunscreen, your own water bottle (no more plastic in the sea, please), extra socks, flip-flops or other easy off shoes (not Crocs – to slippery) so you don’t wear boots all day on the boat (sweaty feet get cold), phone with charger, camera & iPod. A Ziploc bag for phone, iPod & camera if splashes of h2o will zap them. Your own reusable, non-breakable coffee cup. Headlamp & batteries. A pocketknife. I like my Victorinox Swiss Army 3 1/4″ serrated knife with plastic sheath – good for everything and not too expensive to replace if it goes overboard. Rain gear if you have your own. A survival suit if you have your own. A book as you may have time on your hands until the action starts.  A bath towel and a hand towel – no telling if you’ll want to use the ones on the boat. The hand towel is good for a face wash after a salty spray and you won’t chance getting fish guts on your bath towel. Tampons if you’ll need them. Tissues to so you don’t use all the toilet paper for a runny nose or if someone else used up all the toilet paper. A sleeping bag.

RX: seasick meds (take one the night before you get on the boat), sleeve of Saltine crackers for queasiness, packet of ramen helps settle the stomach too, remember it’s always better to keep your stomach slightly full rather than empty – nibble all day. Single serve Miso packets are good, too. I crave salt when I am queasy. Peppermint tea. Some like ginger tea but I prefer peppermint or chamomile. Your own bottle of preferred pain killer.

For the boat & crew: Write down a couple good fish recipes in case someone asks for one. Have them loaded on your phone so you can email them rather than have to write one down on the spot when you are seasick. Bring some of your pickles or jams for the crew and a block of cheese that goes well with them. Any t-shirts from your restaurant? Good to have as trade items. Chocolate you can’t buy in Alaska. Cookies & magazines for the crew. Magazines like People, Outside, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair – really – generally please most. Money for the first round of drinks once back in port and off the boat – it may be the only round anyone remembers so belly up to the bar with cash in hand right away. Business cards so the crew can come find you and your restaurant when they hit Seattle with their wallets full of herring season bucks!!!!

Don’t forget: Above all, keep it small. Only bring one duffle or backpack (not a suitcase if you can help it, bad luck) and a computer if you can’t live without it.

It never hurts to have a few snacks in your backpack for yourself so you don’t need to bug the crew when they are busy with fish and you are starving. Share the snacks if someone sees you eating them.

Pack a good attitude and a sense of humor even if no one else the boat brought theirs. The ability to wait and entertain yourself is also good to have on board a fishing boat.

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